Based on Nehemiah 4 ~ A Story for Kids Age 3-7
Ruthie and Elihu woke to the sound metal hitting rock.
Mama kneeled between them. “Good morning, sleepy heads. I need you to take food to Papa, and also to Uncle Joiada.”
The children sprang out of bed, slipping on their dusty sandals.
Outside, Ruthie picked her way through the debris of the old wall to Papa. Elihu stood, watching people and animals walk wearily through gate into the remains of Jerusalem. “Where are you going?” he asked a boy driving his sheep ahead of him.
The boy eyed Elihu. “Nehemiah has called us inside. There is trouble over the wall. Sanballat, Tobiah and Gesham are angry. They have stirred the Arabs, Ammonites and Ashdodites against us.”
Elihu nodded. He knew that Jerusalem’s new governor, Nehemiah, had been working hard to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall after Israel’s enemies tore it down. Many people were against Jerusalem.
Ruthie gave her father his package at the Sheep Gate and hugged him. Elihu hurried over to have his hair ruffled before setting out toward the Old City Gate. Ruthie ran to catch up. “Elihu, why do the men guard each other now? There are swords everywhere.”
Elihu was seven years old. He didn’t want to worry his six year old sister, but these were troubling times. “The men are protecting each other, Ruthie.”
“They didn’t protect each other yesterday.”
“Yesterday was different.”
Ruthie nodded. The children waved at the people of Jericho and called “Good morning!” to Zaccur of Imri. The sons of Hassenah were rebuilding the fish gate while Meremoth stood guard. Further down the wall, Meshullum shoved broken wall pieces away from his section and Zadok looked for trouble in the hills beyond Jerusalem. The people of Tekoa labored on their large section of wall. Behind them, a line of men stood facing out, hands on their swords.
“There’s Uncle!” cried Ruthie.
Elihu smiled. “Uncle Joiada! We brought food for you and Meshullam.” Meshullam smiled and took the package.
Uncle Joiada was talking to a tall man. Ruthie elbowed Elihu. “That’s Nehemiah!”
Elihu nodded and put a finger to his lips.
“So, you think it will get worse?” Uncle Joiada asked. “Nehemiah, the men are tired. Every section of the wall is being rebuilt. Now we cannot even change our clothes?”
Nehemiah frowned. “I know everyone is tired. God will give us strength. We will build the wall, and then we will rest.” Nehemiah placed his hand on Uncle’s shoulder before turning to Ruthie and Elihu. He bent so they could see his face. “Small friends,” he said, “your service to our people is important. Keep it up.”
Elihu smiled and Ruthie blushed. Nehemiah turned and started to the next section of wall. All around, the sound of construction rang out through the ruined city of Jerusalem.
The Israelites rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem in only 52 days. They persevered, working together even when things got hard. When you do the right thing, even though it is difficult, you are persevering too.
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.